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Tis the Season --
for House Fires!

Written by Heidi Nestor, Writer and Editor, Life Alert

Tis the Season -- for House Fires!

The holidays are upon us and so is the potential of a fire causing holiday havoc.  We all know the basics of what causes house fires – food burning on the stove, leaving a candle unattended, portable heating devices overheating, and overloading electrical sockets.

However, there are also some lesser known items that can cause fire, which you may want to look out for:

  • Glassware:

When sunlight strikes mirrors and certain glass, the concentrated ray can ignite flammable materials such as old curtains or paper (mail, newspaper, etc).  An easy fix, help your venerable elder rearrange her glass menagerie or simply move all glass accessories away from windows.

  • Dust bunnies:

Not the cutest of the bunny family, these small pieces of debris are held together by static electricity and can collect together to float towards electrical sockets and heaters.  Since they are made up of mostly flammable items such as hair, lint, and dust they can easily ignite.  So when visiting grandma, sweep or vacuum her floors and make sure you get those hard-to-reach areas, such as under the bed, and don’t forget to get behind doors and large furniture.

  • Clothes dryer:

Cleaning the lint trap should be part of the laundry choirs, but elders can easily forget to clean the trap especially if they’re tired after hauling out a load of laundry. Moreover, if their eyesight is going they may not be able to see the lint building up.  As a holiday gift idea have a professional inspect and clean out your parent’s dryer at least once a year to help eliminate a fire hazard.

  • Batteries:

Here’s a bit of irony, the 9 Volt batteries you put in a smoke detector to warn you of an impending fire danger – can actually start a fire. Since the positive and negative posts are close together any metal object that comes in contact with the posts, especially steel wool, can short circuit and create enough heat to cause a fire. So the next time you’re hanging with Gramps, check his battery drawer and if the 9-volts are not in their original packaging, just put some duct tape around the posts. 

By the same token, alkaline batteries can turn your holiday party into the bomb, an exploding one that is.  Overheated batteries can turn your mechanical dancing elf into the Terminator if they are put in the wrong way or are exposed to high heat such as a fireplace or a stove.

Also, remember to never charge a non-rechargeable battery.

  • Christmas Trees:

You may think that everyone knows a Christmas tree is a potential fire hazard, so what’s so uncommon about it, but you would be surprised at how many homes are destroyed over the holiday season due to a dry tree and some hot bulbs. Keep all indoor trees in your home wet by watering daily especially if Fido drinks from the tree stand.  And make sure that the tree is far from any heat source such as fireplaces, radiators and even TVs.

It’s always a good idea to have a smoke detector in the house, but when it comes to protecting the elderly - an alarm that just makes noise may not work if the sleeping senior is on medication that “may cause drowsiness.”  That’s why it’s important to get them Life Alert’s Monitored Smoke Detector.

Life Alert’s Monitored Smoke Detector sends a signal to a team of emergency dispatchers, who then call the home and alert the fire department.  This kind of fast response can result in saving lives, memories, and all those gifts grandma and grandpa got you that are sitting under the tree.

So this holiday season, play it safe with your elderly loved ones and check all the potential fire hazards that may be lurking around their home, and get them Life Alert’s Monitored Smoke Detector so they can be protected 24/7, year round.

To learn more about the red hot protection packages Life Alert has to offer, call 1-800-380-0768 for a FREE brochure.


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